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Post to Complete Print-Web Merger Jan. 1

By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2009

The Washington Post plans to complete more than a year's worth of preparation and officially merge its print and online operations on Jan. 1, attempting to create a unified entity for distributing news and information from The Post's downtown headquarters, the paper said Thursday.

The Post's Web site, washingtonpost.com, has been a separate physical and editorial operation for years, located in Arlington and maintaining its own publisher and executive editor. The site has operated under the Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI) group.

But after the retirement last September of Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., the company began taking steps toward a merger. Downie's successor, former Wall Street Journal managing editor Marcus Brauchli, became the first Post executive editor to gain control of both the print and online products. Jim Brady and Caroline Little, washingtonpost.com's executive editor and publisher, respectively, resigned following the reorganization.

Asked whether the merger is expected to produce cost savings, Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth wrote in an e-mail that "the motivation behind the integration is to become a more nimble company focused on disseminating news and information on multiple platforms. But we do anticipate that we will also be able to become more efficient."

Weymouth said the company is looking for a tenant for the Arlington office space.

The Post's main newsroom on 15th Street NW is undergoing a substantial renovation to accommodate the new staffers coming from Arlington and, it is hoped, to more efficiently process The Post's content and distribute it on print, Web, mobile and other platforms. The newsroom renovation is scheduled to be completed this fall; in the meantime, staffers have relocated elsewhere in the building or gone to bureaus. Some are working from home.

At the same time, The Post newspaper is undergoing a redesign, retooling typefaces and dressing up the product. The redesigned paper is to launch this fall, Weymouth said, adding that a revamped Sunday magazine will debut at the end of this month and a new-look local washingtonpost.com home page will have a trial launch next week.

Weymouth said the Web site's general manager, Goli Sheikholeslami, will be general manager of digital and vice president of digital product development. Sheikholeslami came to The Post from Conde Nast, where she ran Style.com. Also, Roger Andelin, former chief information officer at Buy.com, will run The Post's information technology department.

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